Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement
Your teaching philosophy should reflect your personal values and beliefs about teaching. It is a self-reflective statement that describes what you believe and provides concrete examples of what you do in the classroom to support those beliefs. It is written in the first person and should convey a professional image of your teaching. A well-developed teaching philosophy will provide a way to purposefully assess your teaching approach and enable you to articulate your teaching beliefs and values to your students, your peers, and search or teaching award committees.
Most teaching philosophy statements are 1-4 pages long and cover three core areas (objectives, methods, evaluation). They tend to be discipline-specific and will have nuances that reflect that. A teaching philosophy is also a document in progress, and it should change and evolve as your teaching experiences build.
Did you know? Graduate Students and Post Docs may work with CCE’s writing consultants to develop their teaching statements. To learn more, visit ISU’s Center for Communication Excellence website .
What are your objectives as a teacher?
It is important to start by describing where you want to end. In other words, what are your objectives as a teacher? The rest of your philosophy statement should support these objectives which should be achievable and relevant to your teaching responsibilities; avoid vague or overly grandiose statements. On the other hand, you will want to demonstrate that you strive for more than mediocrity or only nuts-and-bolts transference of facts.
Consider these writing prompts:
- Do you hope to foster critical thinking and problem-solving strategies, facilitate the acquisition of life-long learning skills, or prepare students to function effectively in an information economy?
- What is your role in orienting students to a discipline, to what it means to be an educated person in your field?
- How do you delineate your areas of responsibility as compared to your students’ responsibilities?
- In what specific ways do you want to improve the education of students in your field?
- Are there discussions in academic journals or in professional organizations about shortcomings in the education of students today or unmet needs in the discipline and do you have ideas about how to address those shortcomings and needs?
How will you achieve those objectives?
Once you have a clear vision of your teaching objectives, you can discuss the methods you use, or will use, to achieve those objectives. Here is also where you can elaborate on your knowledge of learning theory, cognitive development, curriculum design, etc. as the topic(s) relate to the teaching strategies you implement.
It is useful to explain specific strategies or methods you use and tie these strategies directly to your teaching objectives. For example, if you include a field trip as part of your course, what are the learning objectives associated with the fieldtrip? How do you decide whether to use collaborative or individual projects based on your teaching objectives? When appropriate, relate your strategies to national-level needs for teaching in your discipline. If you have developed instructional materials that have been or could be disseminated, be sure to discuss them and how they support your teaching objectives and possibly national-level disciplinary objectives.
How will you measure your teaching effectiveness?
In this section discuss how you intend to measure your effectiveness relative to the objectives and methods you have outlined. Because your teaching objectives are most likely related to student learning, you will probably use measures of student attainment of learning outcomes, rather than simply how many chapters you can cover from the textbook. The end of semester course evaluations completed by students can also be used to measure teaching effectiveness. Consider having a peer evaluate your teaching and provide input on the quality of teaching materials you have developed as well as your effectiveness in the classroom. Having multiple methods of evaluation rather than just a single source provides a more comprehensive picture of your teaching effectiveness.
A final section to include in your teaching philosophy statement is quite simply- Why do you teach? Here is where you can be, if not grandiose, at least a bit grand. What, to you, are the personal rewards of teaching? How do you want to make the world or at least higher education better? When you are overworked and feel undervalued, to what ideals do you return in order to rejuvenate yourself and inspire your students? How do you want to make a difference in the lives of your students? Why does teaching matter to you?
Responses to all of these questions will require some reflective thought and you will likely benefit from discussing them with other faculty in your department. Consider bouncing your responses off of your colleagues, ponder their responses, re-evaluate your positions, revise, talk some more, etc. Over time your responses will change to reflect how you have grown and changed as a teacher. Think of your teaching philosophy as a work in progress over the course of your career.
Writing a Teaching Philosophy
Susan Yager, Professor in English, is a frequent lecturer in the CELT Preparing Future Faculty program on the topic of writing a teaching philosophy statement. In this 2013 Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement video (12m 31s), she shares her experience in developing her own teaching philosophy statement and tips for beginner writing for the first time.
After, review the second video , which features Karen Menzel, CELT Program Specialist and co-director for the Preparing Future Faculty program. Karen provides a step-by-step process for developing a teaching statement. You can follow along using this PDF.
ISU Center for Communication Excellence (CCE)
Graduate Students and Post Docs have the ability to meet with CCE’s writing consultants. To learn more, visit ISU’s Center for Communication Excellence website .
Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
- Teaching Philosophy
Why write a teaching philosophy?
Writing teaching philosophies has become a common practice among educators, as they can be useful—and are often recommended or required—in job applications for faculty positions and in the promotion and tenure review process.
Instructors also find the writing process instrumental in making their own teaching more deliberate and intentional: We often teach without ever really thinking about long-term goals, but the process of writing a teaching philosophy encourages the kind of consideration and reflection that can ultimately improve our effectiveness in the classroom.
Access to your teaching philosophy can also be helpful to students who want an early sense of what you will be like as a teacher, so consider adding it to a your syllabus or learning management system and discussing it early in the semester.
Where to start...
Review current research on the scholarship of teaching and learning in your field . Note anything that you find interesting or helpful (e.g., terminology and current trends that you might mention), and think about how this information applies to your own teaching. Jot down notes about the teaching practices you use that are highly valued in education today; for example, the ways in which you
- Focus teaching on higher-order learning
- Refrain from depending too much on lecture
- Collaborate with colleagues
- Integrate a variety of active learning exercises
- Engage in outreach and community involvement
- Incorporate online tools and resources
Consider the situational factors that have influenced your teaching . What unique situations apply to you and your classroom (e.g., the context of the teaching and learning situation, the nature of the subject, characteristics of the learners and of the teacher)
Ask yourself general questions about your teaching —questions like:
- Why do I teach?
- What does good teaching mean to me?
- What does effective learning mean to me?
- Do I have a particular teaching style or approach? If so, how would I describe it?
- What makes me unique as a teacher?
- What do I expect from my students?
- What can my students expect from me?
- What do I do to continue to improve?
Consider these more specific topics as you seek to characterize your particular style:
- Why teaching is important to me
- My concepts or views on how people learn and how I facilitate that learning
- The teaching strategies I use to promote student learning
- How I know that my classroom practices are effective
- The learning environment I seek to create in my classroom
- How I determine that students have achieved desired outcomes
- The role my teaching plays in the context of my career or lifelong goals
- How I teach topics about which I am not an expert
- How I work with students who are academically struggling
- What my syllabi say about my teaching style
- How my teaching has changed in the last five years
Continue gathering information and reflecting on your teaching experiences: Schönwetter, et al (2013), suggest that the evolution of a teaching philosophy statement is cyclical and continuous:
Review the final product: Because you will likely present your teaching philosophy in your CV, the promotion and tenure process, and other interactions with influential audiences, ensure that the document is clear, concise and effective. Consider asking peers to review and comment on the draft or use a rubric to evaluate your philosophy statement.
- Though you might find it helpful to read others’ teaching philosophies, recognize that your teaching philosophy is unique to you and your specific teaching situation, so there is no one-size-fits-all model.
- A teaching philosophy continually evolves as you progress through your career. Revise it often!
- Bain, Ken. What the Best College Teachers Do . Harvard University Press, 2004.
- Beatty, J.E., J.S.A. Leigh, & K.L. Dean. Philosophy rediscovered: Exploring the connections between teaching philosophies, educational philosophies, and philosophy . Journal of Management Education, 33(1): 99-114, 2009.
- Faculty Focus Special Report: Philosophy of Teaching Statements (May 2009).
- Girash, J. Metacognition and instruction . In V.A. Benassi, C.E. Overson, & C.M. Hakala (eds.). Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum, 2014.
- Kasachkoff, Tziporah. Teaching Philosophy: Theoretical Reflections and Practical Suggestions . Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004.
- Kenkmann, Andrea, ed. Teaching Philosophy . Continuum International Publishing, 2009.
- Schönwetter, Dieter J., et al, Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements . International Journal for Academic Development , 7:1, 83-97, 2013.
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- What is a teaching statement?
- What purposes does the teaching statement serve?
- What does a teaching statement include?
- Reflection questions to help get you started
- Exercises to help get you started
- Evaluating your teaching statement
- Further resources
What is a Teaching Statement?
A Teaching Statement is a purposeful and reflective essay about the author’s teaching beliefs and practices. It is an individual narrative that includes not only one’s beliefs about the teaching and learning process, but also concrete examples of the ways in which he or she enacts these beliefs in the classroom. At its best, a Teaching Statement gives a clear and unique portrait of the author as a teacher, avoiding generic or empty philosophical statements about teaching.
What Purposes does the Teaching Statement Serve?
The Teaching Statement can be used for personal, professional, or pedagogical purposes. While Teaching Statements are becoming an increasingly important part of the hiring and tenure processes, they are also effective exercises in helping one clearly and coherently conceptualize his or her approaches to and experiences of teaching and learning. As Nancy Van Note Chism, Professor Emerita of Education at IUPUI observes, “The act of taking time to consider one’s goals, actions, and vision provides an opportunity for development that can be personally and professionally enriching. Reviewing and revising former statements of teaching philosophy can help teachers to reflect on their growth and renew their dedication to the goals and values that they hold.”
What does a Teaching Statement Include?
A Teaching Statement can address any or all of the following:
- Your conception of how learning occurs
- A description of how your teaching facilitates student learning
- A reflection of why you teach the way you do
- The goals you have for yourself and for your students
- How your teaching enacts your beliefs and goals
- What, for you , constitutes evidence of student learning
- The ways in which you create an inclusive learning environment
- Your interests in new techniques, activities, and types of learning
“If at all possible, your statement should enable the reader to imagine you in the classroom, teaching. You want to include sufficient information for picturing not only you in the process of teaching, but also your class in the process of learning.” – Helen G. Grundman, Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement
- Make your Teaching Statement brief and well written . While Teaching Statements are probably longer at the tenure level (i.e. 3-5 pages or more), for hiring purposes they are typically 1-2 pages in length.
- Use narrative , first-person approach. This allows the Teaching Statement to be both personal and reflective.
- Be sincere and unique. Avoid clichés, especially ones about how much passion you have for teaching.
- Make it specific rather than abstract. Ground your ideas in 1-2 concrete examples , whether experienced or anticipated. This will help the reader to better visualize you in the classroom.
- Be discipline specific . Do not ignore your research. Explain how you advance your field through teaching.
- Avoid jargon and technical terms, as they can be off-putting to some readers. Try not to simply repeat what is in your CV. Teaching Statements are not exhaustive documents and should be used to complement other materials for the hiring or tenure processes.
- Be humble . Mention students in an enthusiastic, not condescending way, and illustrate your willingness to learn from your students and colleagues.
- Revise . Teaching is an evolving, reflective process, and Teaching Statements can be adapted and changed as necessary.
Reflection Questions To Help You Get You Started:*
- Why do you teach the way you do?
- What should students expect of you as a teacher?
- What is a method of teaching you rely on frequently? Why don’t you use a different method?
- What do you want students to learn? How do you know your goals for students are being met?
- What should your students be able to know or do as a result of taking your class?
- How can your teaching facilitate student learning?
- How do you as a teacher create an engaging or enriching learning environment?
- What specific activities or exercises do you use to engage your students? What do you want your students to learn from these activities?
- How has your thinking about teaching changed over time? Why?
* These questions and exercises are meant to be tools to help you begin reflecting on your beliefs and ideas as a teacher. No single Teaching Statement can contain the answers to all or most of these inquiries and activities.
Exercises to Help You Get You Started:*
- The Teaching Portfolio , including a section on teaching statements, Duquesne University Center for Teaching Excellence. This website includes five effective exercises to help you begin the writing process
- Teaching Goals Inventory , by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross and their book Classroom Assessment Techniques . This “quiz” helps you to identify or create your teaching and learning goals.
Evaluating Your Teaching Statement
Writing A Statement Of Teaching Philosophy For The Academic Job Search (opens as a PDF), The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan.
This report includes a useful rubric for evaluating teaching philosophy statements. The design of the rubric was informed by experience with hundreds of teaching philosophies, as well as surveys of search committees on what they considered successful and unsuccessful components of job applicants’ teaching philosophies.
General information on and guidelines for writing teaching statements.
- Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement , Faculty and TA Development at The Ohio State University. This site provides an in-depth guide to teaching statements, including the definition of and purposes for a teaching statement, general formatting suggestions, and a self-reflective guide to writing a teaching statement.
- Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement , Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Iowa State University. This document looks at four major components of a teaching statement, which have been divided into questions—specifically, to what end? By what means? To what degree? And why? Each question is sufficiently elaborated, offering a sort of scaffolding for preparing one’s own teaching statement.
- Writing a Meaningful Statement of Teaching Philosophy , McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University. This website offers strategies for preparing and formatting your teaching statement.
Articles about Teaching Statements
- Grundman, Helen (2006). Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement (opens as a PDF), Notices of the AMS , Vol. 53, No. 11, p. 1329.
- Montell, Gabriela (2003). How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy , from the Chronicle Manage Your Career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education .
- Montell, Gabriela (2003). What’s Your Philosophy on Teaching, and Does it Matter? , from the Chronicle Manage Your Career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education .
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- Teaching Statements
It's a shame that search committees customarily ask candidates for "statements of teaching philosophy," a name which makes it sound as though the committee is looking for a lofty, abstract manifesto about the purpose of higher education. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The best teaching statements are, almost without exception, those which drill down and give a potential employer a vivid portrait of the candidate's presence and personality as an instructor. Insofar as they are "philosophical" at all, good teaching statements take care to explain a teacher's priorities. What must your students learn—and how, exactly, do you teach it?
Harvard Griffin GSAS students: Schedule a consultation on your teaching statement Harvard FAS Faculty: Schedule a consultation on your teaching statement
How to Compose a Teaching Statement
In our Bok Seminar on Teaching and the Job Market, we encourage graduate students to think about the teaching statement as a hybrid of three things:
- A story. The most effective statements tell a story about the evolution of their authors’ teaching commitments and practices in dialogue with feedback from their students. Like any good story, it should be organized around some "tension," feature a "protagonist," be driven by a "plot," etc. These might come from: (1) your own experience as a student and/or teacher; (2) the research on teaching and learning (i.e. evidence-based pedagogy); (3) an interesting student profile in your courses; and/or (4) your scholarship.
- A performance of disciplinary mastery. Almost every discipline has some mental model of how knowledge is structured—and, therefore, of how one moves from being less expert to more expert. Which parts of that mental model are satisfactory, or even sacred? Which parts are unsatisfactory, or ripe for creative disruption? (Is there some foundational concept that could be taught more effectively? Have you tried letting sophomores do something that is usually reserved for seniors?) How can you bring the skills which you ordinarily apply to your research to your teaching to demonstrate that you have a bird’s-eye view of your field?
- A window onto your understanding of students. A reader of your teaching statement should be able to walk away from the text with a memorable anecdote or otherwise strong sense of how well you understand the students whom you teach—including how their identities and experiences inflect their experience of your teaching. How does your classroom actually look on a given day? Are your activities learner-centered ? What sort of voice do you use when speaking with students?
In order to help graduate students think about how they might apply these lenses practically to their own statements, we suggest three exercises that you could apply on your own:
- Kurt Vonnegut's Shapes of Stories. Kurt Vonnegut worked out what he claimed were the eight essential "shapes" or storyforms of world (well, perhaps Western) narratives. ( Here's his lecture on the topic .) We'll pair up students, have them pick a story shape, and ask them in three or five minutes to use that shape to narrate a teaching experience. One of the best things about this quick exercise is that it invariably requires you to identify an obstacle or moment of failure in your teaching, and to explain how you have grown and learned from the experience—a useful remedy to the temptation to describe yourself, implausibly, as a perfect teacher.
- Close read a curriculum. Harvard has a wonderful resource buried in its undergraduate handbook—a book of its own called the " Fields of Concentration ." In it, each department attempts to explain what its faculty teaches, and why an undergraduate should want to learn it. It also lays out in detail the requirements which each department sets for its concentrators (the Harvard term for majors). We ask graduate students to close-read their department's entry, and to compare it to one or more curricula from similar departments at other institutions. What can we learn about how our fields—perhaps only implicitly—think a student advances from novice to expert? Is there agreement about what kinds of things every [historian/biologist/linguist] ought to learn, and in what order? This can be a terrific way to start thinking about what you prioritize in your own teaching.
- What are the examples doing? Depending on the field, we will collate a few sample teaching statements and give them a very quick read, focusing on the moments in which the writer speaks concretely about an instance of his/her teaching. By focusing on these moments—asking whether they illustrate something about the teacher or the students, and especially about whether they are meant to communicate something about the teacher's approach, or merely that he or she has experience—job market candidates become more aware of the value of deploying examples of their own teaching economically and purposefully.
For more information...
Tipsheet: Instructions for a Teaching Statement Peer-Review Workshop
"Writing a Teaching Philosophy" (Iowa State University)
"Writing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy for the Academic Job Search" (University of Michigan CRLT, Occasional Paper no. 23)
James M. Lang, "4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy," The Chronicle of Higher Education (29 August 2010)
Helen G. Grundman, "Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement," Notices of the American Mathematical Society 53.11 (December 2006): 1329–1333.
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Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement for the Academic Job Market
Basic information about writing successful teaching philosophy statements for the academic market.
The Teaching Philosophy Statement is a concise and specific personal essay that describes your core approach(es) to teaching and learning and expresses how you understand your role in the classroom.
Basic Stylistic Conventions
The statement should be single spaced and one-two pages in length (unless otherwise specified for a particular job ad). In the essay, you’ll use the first person (“I” pronouns) and stick with the present tense (I do “x” when I teach “y”), whenever possible. You should limit technical jargon that may not be accessible to everyone on the committee, and be sure to define any needed technical terms clearly. The tone should be professional but conversational. In terms of formatting, it’s a good idea to match the rest of your job market documents (If you’ve written in Times New Roman 12pt for your CV and your job letter, then stick with that for this document as well).
Note that a teaching statement is not simply a list of your past teaching experiences or a list of what you can teach at the job you are applying too (these items will find there way into your job market materials through your CV, teaching portfolio, and other documents). It is also not an article on teaching, or a commentary on the general state of teaching today.
Purpose and Audience
When you write your teaching philosophy statement for an application for a faculty position, think about the reasons a search committee may request the document and try to anticipate questions the committee may have about your teaching, such as the following:
- Is this candidate qualified for the teaching responsibilities of the position?
- Does her approach to teaching suggest that she would be a good “fit” for our department and our students?
- Does this candidate want to teach? If so, why?
- If I were to step into a classroom and observe this candidate teaching, what would I see?
- How do this candidate’s research interests shape their teaching?
- What will this candidate add to our department? What will our students gain from their classes? What will our department gain in terms of specific courses, new opportunities for students to develop their skills and knowledge, and interesting pedagogical approaches?
- How does this candidate respond to the perennial challenges of teaching, such as motivating students to learn, evaluating student work, maintaining high standards in the classroom, and juggling teaching with other responsibilities?
What a Teaching Statement is Not:
- A list of your past teaching experiences and/or a list of what you can teach at the job you are applying to (Instead, do this more subtly by weaving in examples from your previous teaching that might highlight the ways that you are especially qualified for the teaching in this new position.)
- A summary of all your student evaluations (This goes in a teaching portfolio. That said, if students consistently describe you in a way that is critical to your overarching teaching philosophy, choose a representative example or two that can demonstrate evidence of how your philosophy plays out in your teaching practice.)
- A summary of feedback from colleagues and mentors (See second bullet point.)
- An article on teaching
- A general philosophy about the state of teaching today
What Do Successful Statements Do?
Successful statements are forward and backwards looking. They draw on your previous teaching experiences with an eye towards the kind of work you may be asked to do in the role that you are applying for. They also demonstrate a narrative of progress, illustrating the ways that you’ve reflected on past experiences and intend to grow as a teacher in the future.
The best statements provide a clear and specific-to-you opening that guides the essay that follows. They also highlight concrete examples of specific course topics, assignments, assessments, and teaching methodologies that demonstrate how the overarching principles involved in your teaching philosophy are at work in particular contexts. They include representative examples which describe the breadth of your teaching experiences, relying particularly on those experiences which have most informed your practice.
Successful statements are also student-centered–they explain not just what you will do but also what students do in your courses. They are also attuned to the particular challenges associated with teaching in your discipline.
What Kinds of Experiences Can Be Drawn on?
Choose teaching experiences which showcase most clearly your teaching philosophy. If you haven’t had many opportunities for formal instruction, draw on your years of experience as a student and the informal teaching situations that you’ve be a part of: mentoring, leading study groups, community service, tutoring, etc. Explain how these experiences will influence your approach to teaching a college-level course.
The Center for Teaching and Learning offers teaching philosophy statement workshops each semester for those at WashU on both the Danforth and Medical campuses. Consult our events page for more information. In addition, the CTL also offers the Jump-Start to Writing a Teaching Philosophy Stat Program, a month-long guided peer review opportunity that builds on the material from the initial workshop, while helping to facilitate the drafting and revision of the teaching statement. The Jump-Start program offers the opportunity for graduate students and postdocs to work in guided small groups to begin and advance the writing process. This program takes place in the fall and in the late spring each year.
Individual consultations with our staff on writing, revising, or tailoring your statements are also available for Washington University faculty, graduate students, and postdocs.
We also encourage graduate students and postdocs to consult with faculty advisors, mentors, and peers in your discipline about your teaching statement. Those in your discipline can provide specialized feedback that will help you improve your statement’s effectiveness and clarity.
Austin, Rachel Narehood. “Writing the Teaching Statement.” Science Careers. April 14, 2006. http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/art… .
Chronicle of Higher Education, How to Write a Teaching Statement that Sings. https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1114-how-to-write-a-teaching-statement-that-sings?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Haugen, Lee. “Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement.” Center for Teaching Effectiveness. Iowa State University.
Kearns, Katherine D. & Sullivan, Carol S. Resources and practices to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows write statements of teaching philosophy. 2011. http://advan.physiology.org/content/35/2/136.short
Lang, James M. “4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy. The Chronicle of Higher Education. August 29, 2010. http://chronicle.com/article/5-Steps-to-a-Memorable/124199/ .
Mangum, Teresa. “Views of the Classroom.” Insider Higher Education. October 28, 2009. http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/academic_career_confidential/mangum10 .
Montell, Gabriela. “How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. March 27, 2003. http://chronicle.com/article/How-to-Write-a-Statement-of/45133 .
Montell, Gabriela. “What’s your Philosophy on Teaching, and Does it Matter?” The Chronicle of Higher Education. March 27, 2003. http://chronicle.com/article/Whats-Your-Philosophy-on/45132/ .
O’Neal, Chris, Meizlish, Deborah, and Kaplan, Matthew. “Writing a Teaching Philosophy for the Academic Job Search.” CRLT Occasional Papers. No. 23. University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. 2007. http://www.crlt.umich.edu/publinks/CRLT_no23.pdf .
Van Note Chism, Nancy. “Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement.” Ohio State University. 1998. http://ftad.osu.edu/portfolio/philosophy/Philosophy.html .
Vick, Julie Miller and Furlong, Jennifer S.. “Writing Samples and Teaching Statements”, The Chronicle of Higher Education Dec. 20, 2010. http://chronicle.com/article/Writing-SamplesTeaching/125726/ .
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A Teaching Philosophy, or Teaching Statement, is a concise but detailed document (usually 1-2 single-spaced pages in length) written in paragraph format that explains how you approach curriculum development, your role in the classroom, grading practices, and other activities that influence and make up your teaching. The amount of space you give to the different aspects of teaching is up to faculty, but faculty should be sure to ground ideas with specific examples from their experiences in the classroom.
Some topics that might be addressed in a Teaching Philosophy are:
- How you facilitate diversity and inclusiveness in the classroom and in curriculum design
- Your role as facilitator/leader in the classroom and how you reserve or distribute control in the classroom
- How you approach controversial classroom topics
- Your methods for encouraging classroom participation from diverse student populations and students from varied learning backgrounds
- How you assess student learning and how you’ve acted on what you’ve found
- How you have adapted to differing class and/or college settings
- How you have utilized student feedback
When organizing your Teaching Philosophy, think back to the fundamentals of rhetoric and composition. It is helpful to have a clear introductory paragraph that includes a thesis-like statement that sets up the rest of the document. Focus your paragraphs on individual ideas or umbrella categories that you support and develop with examples.
While your CV will list your experience and accomplishments, the Teaching Philosophy is an opportunity to espouse on your specific approach(es) to teaching and detail the anecdotes from your teaching that have most shaped you as an educator. While important and deserving a level of formality, the Teaching Philosophy is not a scholarly essay in tone. It is closer to a concise pedagogy manifesto/biography based on your successes and on your responses to your failures in teaching.
For more details and for examples, click on the many links housed on this page.